Tristan Harris, a former product manager at Google, has named big platforms like Apple, Google, Facebook and other social media for wasting precious time that we probably didn’t want to waste dragging us into their products.
If you find yourself constantly procrastinating due to distracting websites and online platforms that lead you down the rabbit hole, here are a few methods you can use to block those websites and focus on your current work.
- Use browsers only for work.
- Get a profile for work only.
- Turn on airplane mode.
- Use a browser app / extension.
- Use a PC or mobile app.
Ways to block distracting websites
- Use only work browsers.
- Get a business-only profile.
- Enable Airplane Mode.
- Use an app / extension.
- Use a computer or mobile app.
Use only the work browser
The Internet is full of useful information, but accessing it can also lead to lost productivity for hours. What started out as a quick glance at your favorite site or social media feed ends up putting pressure on you as you struggle to accomplish whatever you have planned for the day.
While the Internet can help you find helpful tips and tricks to help you work more efficiently, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up with tons of open tabs and unfinished tasks.
One way to deal with this is to install a working browser that blocks social media or other distracting websites from your computer and phone. Having separate browsers for work or school saves you the hassle of constantly blocking and unblocking distracting sites
You can choose a browser for work or study and another one for everyday use. You can add all website restrictions to your work / school browser, while your regular or daily browser is unlimited.
Get a business profile only
A work-only profile helps you limit your use for work or school by blocking distracting websites and programs. You can create a new user profile if you already have one on your computer and add the restrictions you want to it so you can use it for work or school.
Enable Airplane Mode
This is not a direct way to block distracting websites, but it is a good way to prevent notifications that prompt you to open such sites and also block Internet access.
If you are using a mobile device for work or study, you can turn on airplane (airplane) mode by swiping down from the top to find the airplane icon and then tapping on it to turn it on.
On computers, you can turn off Wi-Fi or internet connection to keep notifications from appearing and turn off internet access.
Using a browser app / extension
You can blacklist distracting websites using extensions for Chrome, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Firefox browsers. They are easy to use and unobtrusive, so you can only focus on what’s important when you can’t block the entire Internet.
StayFocusd is a free Chrome browser extension that limits the time you spend on distracting websites so that you can’t access sites after the expiration date so you can focus on work or school all day.
It offers a Nuclear option that allows you to choose how you want to block distractions like entire websites, specific pages, subdomains, or specific types of content. You can also set the number of minutes or hours you want to spend on sites, and StayFocusd will disconnect you from them as soon as you reach your time limit, without increasing the time.
This includes setting time limits for these sites by days and hours during which you would like to focus more on your tasks than on visiting such sites.
LeechBlock is another free browser extension, but it works with Chrome and Firefox and allows you to block specific sites for a specific time you specify. It has a timer that allows you to set the time you want to spend browsing or visiting certain websites, and after the limit is reached, it blocks you for a day.
A password option or arbitrary passcode is also available, which will slow you down when you want to visit distracting sites.
Use a computer or mobile app
If you want to block access to distracting websites from your computer or mobile device, you can do so for a specific period of time by installing applications such as Cold Turkey for Windows or Hocus Focus for macOS.
These are PC applications with which you can lock yourself at the computer or view one window at a time and not procrastinate after wasting time on distracting sites.
Cold Turkey Blocker works with Windows and macOS platforms and is available for free, although there is a Pro option for which you pay a one-time $ 25 fee.
This allows you to focus on the important tasks by choosing the sites and apps you want to block when you need to get started.
The Frozen Turkey option is in the Pro plan and locks you for a certain period of time. This is useful if you can’t turn off your devices before bed, or if you spend too much time at your computer instead of chatting with other people.
Mac users can try the free Hocus Focus app, which helps you stay focused on work by removing unnecessary screen layout and allowing you to view only one window at a time.
It minimizes inactive windows so you can work with the currently active application, so if you tend to switch applications, Hocus Focus will help you get the current task done.
You can hide your apps after a certain period of inactivity or, if not in use, create and save profiles for various tasks such as editing, research, and others. For mobile, there are apps that block distracting websites or anything that needs snoozing like Off the Grid or Moment.
Off the Grid is an Android-only app that helps you stop using your phone by locking it for a specific period of time. If you want to end your session early, it will charge you $ 1 per session.
For iOS users, the Moment app tracks the time you spend on your device and notifies you when you exceed your set time limit for each day.
Back on track
With a little practice and effort, you can set yourself up for success by focusing on the important tasks using the tips we’ve shared.
It gets easier as you progress, but you can also build up your willpower by using visual reminders, delayed reward with a reward at the end, leaving your workplace and taking short walks or solving puzzles. Once your mind is refreshed, you can return to work on what really matters.